MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While many remember Prince’s musical legacy today, some honored his legacy of giving back.
WCCO’s Reg Chapman went to a middle school in Minneapolis, where those who were close to Prince made a donation they hope will change lives.
Anwatin Middle School students celebrated Prince’s birthday in a special way.
“I grew up right around the corner, literally,” said Andre Cymone.
Andre Cymone, one of Prince’s closest friends and music collaborators, and his ex-wife Manuela Testolini, used her foundation, In a Perfect World, to give back to a community Prince loved dearly.
Testolini gathered several musicians and technicians who worked for Prince to create this music room for students.
“I just know the impact it’s going to have and I’m really blessed to be in a position to be able to do these types of things within a perfect world,” said Testolini.
Inside, 18 brand new keyboards, guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments and acoustics to help these music students reach their full potential.
“He wanted to impact the community and he did for so long. We don’t want there to be a hole in that space. We want to make sure that is continuing as much as Andre said, as much as the music is continued, the impact has to continue and he was an activist, he was a revolutionary, he was a philanthropist. We want to make sure that is elevated and kept at the front,” Testolini said.
Anwatin music students were also treated to a jam session with Andre Cymone.
“The second I walked in here my heart skipped a beat because I was like they did this for us and we didn’t do anything for it. Honestly, a big privilege to be here,” said Emily Acre.
“Think he would be really truly honestly appreciative. I mean, it’s great to go play his music and to do all of that and that’s wonderful and it’s a beautiful thing for his musical legacy, but I think the extension to that is to give back to kids,” Cymone said.
Everyone involved in this gift says it’s one way of honoring the man who gave them all so much.
They believe Prince would be pleased with their efforts.
“He would have expected nothing less, that’s why he had us all around and that’s why he picked us and we did what we did. If you can’t function like that without him, then what was the purpose what did you learn?” said Dave Hampton.
Music Teacher Edward Barlow is a big reason Anwatin Middle School was selected. He built the music program from nothing, and now his students will have a chance to dream, practice and reach their goals.